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February 11, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:19pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Relishing its new-won freedom from AT&T Corp, NCR Corp, for whom its days as AT&T Global Information Solutions are now just a bad memory, is flexing its muscles in one of the areas it dominates – retail point of sale systems, where it is exploiting a system that comes out of what was AT&T Bell Laboratories, now part of Lucent Technologies Inc. It has come up with a radio local network for pricing goods throughout a store, and its own equipment for stores that want to offer customers the option of pricing their own baskets of groceries. The NCR DecisioNet system is already installed in BJ’s Wholesale Club, Waterford, Connecticut; Dill’s Food City supermarket, Royston, Georgia; and the Wal-Mart in Duluth, Georgia. Aiming beyond supermarkets alone, it is also pitched at warehouse stores, supercenters, wholesale clubs, drugstores, convenience stores and hypermarkets. A typical North American food store apparently manages over 15,000 shelf labels and 2,000 weekly price changes, and the system enables all these to to effected centrally. The system synchronizes pricing from the shelf edge to the checkout, and increases in-store merchandising flexibility. The Bell Labs contribution is the patented reflective-passive wireless technology, which bounces signals off ceiling antennae to avoid in-store disruption, and the system transmits prices from the point-of-sale price look-up file via high-frequency radio signals to digital information displays located anywhere throughout a store; the system automatically confirms that a new price has been displayed. The system also offers digital information displays on which can be displayed frequent shopper items, new products, special offers, nutritional information and inventory levels. Citizen Watch Co Ltd is making the self-contained sealed digital information displays under contract. The NCR self-service system is a modified automatic teller machine with a touchscreen. It adds bi-optic scanner and scale, self-checkout software and non-invasive video-based security. Shoppers are prompted to touch the appropriate points on the screen, which leads them through the checkout process, prompting them to scan items and pay by debit or credit card, or cash. After trials, it will be ready next year.

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